Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation
The Medici Effect is a book about innovation, creativity, courage and intersections. It makes a case for learning broadly and being curious. It is an inspiring invitation to explore other areas and a friendly reminder to always pursue our side interests.
Social entrepreneurs: Pioneering social change though business
When I grow up I wanna work in advertising.
“People are taking the piss out of you everyday.
They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small.
They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else.
They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate.
They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it.
They are “The Advertisers” and they are laughing at you.
You, however, are forbidden to touch them.
Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.
Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours.
It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use.
You can do whatever you like with it.
Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.
You owe the companies nothing.
Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy.
They owe you.
They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you.
They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.”
Other components being equal, bigger and denser cities are the most productive and most innovative because they make communication and the exchange of ideas, services and goods easier. Denser cities bring people closer together, facilitate interaction, serve as processors of information, provide a climate in which innovation can flourish and encourage entrepreneurship.
Why I love this book.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
I’ve always felt a bit uncomfortable in the USA: the fear of silence and the chit chat that’s associated with it, the need to always talk in meetings so you are not considered disengaged or not contributing, all the “You spend too much time in your head” comments, etc. This preference for extroversion was probably one of the biggest contributors to my culture shock when I moved here 5.5 years ago. However, I never considered myself an introvert because for me introversion meant being shy and antisocial and that’s not me. I enjoy being around and with people, but I also enjoy quiet time to think, read, write, wonder and wander. And this book was great at helping me realize that introversion and shyness aren’t the same thing. As explained by Susan Cain, shyness is the fear of social disapproval or humiliation, while introversion is a preference for environments that are not overstimulating. Shyness is inherently painful, while introversion is not. Not all shy people are introverts and not all introverts are shy.
Anywhere between 30% to 50% of people are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening and thinking to speaking before thinking, reading to partying. They are the ones who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion. Often labeled as “quiet,” it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society—from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer. Although a bit biased, Cain claims that “thinker” is a label that can more accurately describe introverts than “quiet” does.
Cain shares her personal story and the stories of Asian American students, prominent professors and ordinary couples, charts the rise of the Extroverted Ideal in the USA, introduces us to many successful introverts and questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. She draws on research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the differences between extroverts and introverts. Introverts recharge by being alone, while extroverts need to recharge when they don’t socialize enough. The biggest difference between introverts and extroverts, however, is the level of outside stimulation they need to function well.
Passionately argued, thoroughly researched and filled with indelible stories of real people, “Quiet” shows how undervalued introverts are in a society that cherishes extroverts, explains how much we lose because of this bias and gives advice for both introverts and extroverts on how to communicate better with each other, how to raise introverted children, how to balance the need for quiet time with the need to engage in overstimulating and exhausting activities. And I think this is what makes the book incredible: it’s a great read for both introverts, as a tool to learn more about our strengths and become more confident in ourselves, and for extroverts, as a tool to help them understand us. It has the power to change how society sees introverts and, equally important, how introverts see ourselves.